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    Why patient referrals are key to growing your practice

    A dentist explains why he relies on positive and negative feedback from patients to grow his office.

     

    What percentage of your patients do you get from patient referrals, and how many per month do you get on average?

    We typically get around 60 percent of our patients from referrals. Our average this year is 17 referrals per month.

    And what kind of investment are you making to get those referrals?

    We usually pay out around $60 per new patient between the gift we give to the referrer and the welcome gift that we give to the new patient.

    So, it sounds like you have another 10 new patients per month or so coming from other sources if referrals make up about 60 percent of your new patients. Where are those patients coming from?

    We get one or two each month coming from insurances, and the rest come from online either because they saw our website or our reviews.

    More from the author: How to use Facebook to grow your practice

    Is that something that you work on proactively? Or do they just find it?

    We use a company called Dental Business Builders. We have been working with them for a little over six months. and that has helped us start to drive traffic from our website. We didn't get anything from online before that.

    Have you had a good experience with them?

    Yes, my experience with them has been good, although I didn't use anything before, so I don't have anything to compare it to. They are very responsive to questions, and our leads from our website have been steadily increasing.

    Ok, so you have been doing this practice ownership for a while and you have done very well at growing a small practice. What is some advice you would give to someone just starting out?

    If I had to start over again, I would invest more effort into figuring out what patients like and making sure that they were having good experiences. I used to be afraid to ask patients about their experience because I was afraid they might have negative feedback. Once I figured out that I could use negative feedback to improve rather than taking it as a personal attack, we were able to get our patient experience fine-tuned. This meant better patient retention and more patient referrals. I would definitely say to start there since those have been the two major factors in our practice growth so far.

    Adam Smith
    Adam Smith got his start in the dental industry working for a company called Dental Intel. He was their first data analyst and worked ...

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